Instagram head Adam Mosseri says the social network will walk back some recent changes to the app that have led to intense criticism from users. Mosseri revealed the news in an interview with reporter Casey Newton. Instagram will phase out a test that turned users' home feeds into a TikTok-like full-screen experience that prioritized video in the coming weeks. The company will also temporarily reduce the number of recommended posts that users see, as it plans to improve and rework its algorithms.
Mosseri says users' concerns about the changes were reflected in Instagram's own internal data, which is why the company plans to take a step back and figure out how to move forward. The changes come as users have expressed frustration over the app's gradual transition away from being a place where users could mainly see photos of their friends and family into an app that's filled with recommended posts and videos in an attempt to compete with TikTok. Even the most followed women on Instagram, Kylie Jenner and her sister Kim Kardashian, expressed their frustrations with Instagram's recent changes and shared petitions that said, “Stop trying to be tiktok i just want to see cute photos of my friends.”
The news comes a day after Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that about 15% of content in Facebook feeds are served by Meta’s AI and that number is even a little bit higher on Instagram. Zuckerberg went on to note that the company expects these numbers to double by the end of next year. Mosseri told Newton that Instagram will temporarily reduce the number of recommended posts that users see but didn't specify by how much, in order to get better at ranking and presenting recommendations to users. Once Instagram improves its recommendation algorithm, it will start to grow again, Mosseri says.
Earlier this week, Mosseri admitted that the full-screen home test isn't ideal for users and also addressed users’ concerns about seeing fewer and fewer photos on an app that was once a home for photographers. He went on to note that although Instagram will "continue to support photos," he believes that more of Instagram is going to be focused on video over time.
Mosseri said that the changes announced today aren't permanent, which indicates that Instagram is still going to be heavily focused on video and recommended posts; it's just going to find a way to do so in a better way. This isn't exactly surprising, especially since Reels is a big potential moneymaker for Meta in a time when its revenue is starting to decline. Zuckerberg noted yesterday that Meta has made more than a $1 billion annual run rate on Reels ads. Also, the amount of time users spent watching Reels has increased 30% since last quarter, but it's possible that the cause of that increase is that we’re being served so many Reels by the algorithm.